One of the keys to enjoying a truly relaxing vacation is not to overcomplicate the itinerary. While you might spend hours, if not days or weeks, planning a big trip abroad, weekend travel can also bring with it some spontaneous fun or relaxation. And now, there's even some research that shows if you're stressed out at work, taking a weekend and treating it like a vacation might just help you feel more refreshed and focused come Monday.
Fortunately for Washingtonians, there are plenty of places to get away quickly and embrace the great outdoors. And this spring there are three new reasons to plan a visit up north to central Pennsylvania, where solitude and fun go hand-in-hand. Here are mini-vacation destinations for three different types of adventure seekers.
Orvis Hill Country (Fairfield, Pennsylvania)
If you're the sporting type, someone who finds zen in casting a reel while wading in a riverbed or taking aim at some sporting clays, then the new Orvis Hill Country sporting facility is your mini-vacation destination. The property sits just north of the Mason-Dixon line in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, about a 1.5-hour drive from Washington, DC. Upon arrival, you'll be welcomed into a historic 500-acre estate that recently transformed into a premier sporting clay range, offering upland hunting and fly-fishing instruction by trained professionals. It's also a place to kick back, relax and do some retail therapy. Anyone who's worn a Barbour wax-coat jacket knows that Orvis carries top-of-the-line outfitting apparel for the entire family (dogs included). The facility's lodge is where Orvis maintains its retail shop. And upstairs is where you'll find a private salon, a place where groups tend to gather for meals and drinks. Sporting clays start at just $80 for nonmembers and this spring fly-fishing courses will be offered for everyone from newbies to experienced casters.
Omni Bedford Springs Resort (Bedford, Pennsylvania)
If your idea of the great outdoors is a relaxing sulfur soak followed by an hour-long hot-stone massage, then you better book-it to the Omni Bedford Springs Resort. Room rates here start as low as $159 per night, which is quite a deal considering the luxury amenities, in-dining options and outdoor adventures accessible to this historic property, which has been popular with many of America's first presidents. The Omni is about a 2-hour drive from Washington, DC, and at check-in, you'll immediately feel cozy in the lobby, which features roaring fireplaces, board games and puzzles and a bar that serves up a perfectly made Manhattans. The Bedford Springs Resort also debuted one of the first indoor pools in the United States. In 1905, musicians would serenade swimmers from an elevated opera box, and it's the perfect perch to sit back and relax by the pool. During warmer months, guests can unwind by the outdoor pool and whirlpool which overlooks the Alleghany Mountains. Meanwhile, it's the on-site spa, Springs Eternal Spa, that offers top-notch treatments, as well as access to the resort's natural mineral springs, known for its healing and restorative properties. After a day of pampering, you'll be hungry and ready to dine at one of the property's five on-site restaurants. Not to be missed is the Chef's Table experience, located inside the resort's main kitchen. The dinner is an up-close and personal look at how the Omni creates fine-dining experiences for guests on a nightly basis.
Hikers and History Buffs
Liberty Mountain Resort (near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania)
You might think of Liberty Mountain Resort as a popular ski destination, especially for families, but in the spring the resort empties out and becomes a quiet spot for weekend visitors, who want to embark on a few outdoor adventures or visit historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The resort is located about 15 minutes away from the battlefield filled with Civil War history and a Main Street with several dining options plus some well-known breweries. For hikers, Caledonia State Park is adjacent to Liberty and offers miles of trails. On resort, there's a zip-line and ropes course called the Boulder Ridge Challenge, as well as indoor and outdoor pools, a full-service spa and an 18-hole golf course. With so much to do, you might be tempted to put your phone on airplane mode and forget about your worries until Monday.